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Review: Batman: Arkham Knight - Batgirl: A Matter of Family

Jul 14 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Knight - Batgirl: A Matter of Family (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WB Games MontrealPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $6.99Released: July 14, 2015 (for Season Pass holders) / July 21, 2015 (wide release) The Batmobile takes a backseat this time in favor of a tale told entirely from Barbara Gordon's perspective before the events of Arkham Knight. WB just couldn't resist the chance to bring The Joker back yet again, and it uses every opportunity to let you know that this is his DLC without really having him do all that much. In other more exciting news, Harley Quinn is back, but with her red and black Animated Series get-up for the first time in the Arkham games. It looks great. All of the action takes place in the Seagate Amusement Park, which can be thought of as a tiny little sandbox that hosts the new DLC area. The Joker has captured Jim Gordon, and it's up to Barbara (and Robin) to save the day. Family kicks things off with a by-the-book Dual Play combat session, then it's off to free roam for Batgirl. For the most part (like all the other playable characters so far), Batgirl operates just like Batman -- she even has identical detective vision. Combat is relatively the same, and even though WB Montreal notes that she's "weaker" than Bruce, it doesn't really feel that way at all. It's very cool grappling about with Robin, but other than the use of a new type of gadget (advanced hacking), it's the tried and true Arkham formula. In Family, Barbara can use her remote hacking device as a "catch-all" basically, to do all sorts of things like short-circuit devices or manipulate objects. Think of it like a super gadget that can do a lot. It's presumably done so you don't have to micro-manage all of Bats' tools all over again, and to give Batgirl a slightly different feel. Here's the thing -- it does work at a base level, mostly because it distills the experience down to a lot of the good bits, and takes away the pesky forced Batmobile sessions. In other ways it feels limited, as you're stripped of most of those wonderful toys. [embed]295688:59441:0[/embed] None of the environments are particularly memorable outside of a nice little cameo I found in a water tank (in fact, most zones are even less interesting than the random spots you'll find in Gotham proper), but the linear format isn't jarring, either. That's mostly because of the fact that the DLC is so short. Normally that would be fine, but the story never really goes anywhere until the very end. Even then, it feels like a footnote rather than an impactful part of the overall narrative. In terms of length, it's meatier than the Harley DLC, but not by much. You can complete the main story in roughly an hour, and sort out all of the other collectibles in another 30 minutes. What I would have really loved to see is a full-roam option with Red Hood, Harley, and Batgirl (I mean, the models are already in the game with grappling and combat animations), but it's not meant to be -- the latter is still confined to her tiny add-on area. There are eight Achievements/Trophies though if you're into that sort of thing. Warner Bros. is really employing an odd strategy with Batman: Arkham Knight's post-launch content and the relatively expensive $40 Season Pass. All that's been revealed so far beyond a bunch of throwaway content (skins, races) is a handful of bite-sized episodes such as this; it's a far cry from the competent Cold, Cold Heart add-on for Arkham Origins last year. While A Matter of Family may be worth it for hardcore Batgirl fans, WB will have to do a lot better than this to justify the cost of the pass. [This review is based on a retail build of the DLC purchased by the reviewer.]
Batman DLC review photo
The Killing DLC
Enough time has passed for me to make a solid judgement on Batman: Arkham Knight. For the most part, I agree with the sentiments expressed in Steven's review of the core game -- Rocksteady tried too hard in many respects, and...

Impress the dogs photo
Impress the dogs

Impress the gods in impressive hand drawn action game Jotun


Impress the dogs
Jul 13
// Steven Hansen
I'm not sure the percentage of my life spent trying to impress dogs, but it is big. I want all dogs to love me. They usually do anyways, because dogs love most things and because I am very easy to love. Even dogs antisocial ...
Bloodborne patched photo
Bloodborne patched

Today's Bloodborne update evens co-op play


For whom the bell tolls
Jul 13
// Jordan Devore
That update I was telling you about last week is now available for Bloodborne. Notably, if you join a password-protected match and there's a "large" level difference between players, "the guest's stats will be adjusted to mat...
Baby steps photo
Baby steps

WB changes internal review process, delays Arkham Knight DLC for PC


Progress is progress
Jul 11
// Jed Whitaker
A community manager for Warner Bros. has taken to the Batman: Arkham Knight forums to post an update on status of the PC version of the game, also announcing that DLC has been delayed for the PC version and that the inte...
Devil's Third photo
Devil's Third

Nintendo acknowledges the odd Devil's Third situation with a tweet


'Excited to bring the game to Wii U'
Jul 11
// Chris Carter
Something weird is going on with Devil's Third. We learned recently that the game was rumored to be dropped by Nintendo of America due to quality concerns. Allegedly, the game is not shaping up to be up to snuff for Nint...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Earth Wars elicits shades of Vanillaware


Coming to PS4, Xbox One this summer
Jul 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Japanese independent studio OneOrEight has unveiled Earth Wars, a 2D action game reminiscent of Odin Sphere developer Vanillaware's work, albeit one with far less impressive, stiff animations. OneOrEight is exhibiting the ti...
Tembo the Badass Elephant photo
Tembo the Badass Elephant

Game Freak's Tembo the Badass Elephant drops on July 21


Draws first blood on PC, PS4, Xbox One
Jul 10
// Jordan Devore
I've covered Tembo the Badass Elephant only once -- back when it was unveiled in March -- and the side-scrolling action game is nearly ready for us with a July 21 launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Nice to not drown in promotio...

Review: Duck Game

Jul 10 // Steven Hansen
Duck Game (PC)Developer: Landon PodbielskiPublisher: Adult Swim GamesMSRP: $12.99Released: June 4, 2015 Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. [embed]295748:59453:0[/embed] Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. ...Ok, fine. Duck Game has a quack button. The feeling of impatiently tapping at an elevator to make it come faster has been turned to song and that song is the cacophony of up to four players mashing quack at the start of stages and, often, during combat. As much as the impish coquette in me would have delighted in leaving this review quacks in its entirety, I have a lot I want to say about Duck Game. Things that go beyond pure amusement -- the quack button, the ragdoll button, the tongue-hanging "Frog?" mask, the fucking name "Duck Game." There is an amusing set of solo challenge modes accessed through arcade cabinets. Success in these yields tickets which can be traded for gameplay modifiers, if you're stupid, or more funny hats, if you're smart. But the fatty meat of Duck Game is its multiplayer (online and local). While it could easily draw comparisons to a number of recently successful 2D multiplayer games like Samurai Gunn and TowerFall, I see a mix of randomness and pace from the likes of WarioWare and Super Crate Box. Matches can be over in seconds -- some stages seem designed that way. A victor is crowned, and it's off to the next fight. Breaking this whirlwind pace are intermissions where the ducks will toss their hats/masks across a field en route to 10 wins for ultimate victory.  They all look very mad and I love it. If the "Crazy Ass Goose!" video was not explicitly about a goose, I would say it was about these ducks. These ducks are the "Crazy Ass Goose!" of video games. Most interesting, though, is not that Duck Game has been energizing my living room of late, but how it does so. Part of it has to do with fast deaths and crazy weapons (riding chainsaws, magnet guns, Bionic Commando-claws, net guns, sledgehammers, trumpets). A lot of it boils down to an interesting take on what would otherwise be simple controls. In Samurai Gunn, you jump, slash, or shoot. In Duck Game, you jump, pick up/throw, and use. Along with the indispensable quack and its lesser relative, the ragdoll.  But Duck Game changes your interaction with the huge assortment of weapons that are scattered throughout maps. Everything needs to be picked up with a button press. With most guns, you can press pick up, then start pressing "use" (shoot, in this case), and it works as expected. But when you "pick up" a grenade, pressing "use" pulls the pin, and then you have to press "throw" (formerly "pick up") to toss it. It's not the assortment of weapons that is fun, it's the quick reflexes -- and their funny failures -- needed to remember how they all work, despite the simple two button layout. Shotguns are shot, then racked before they can be shot a again. Armor is picked up, then put on. Muskets are slowly, slowly reloaded. There are a litany of handguns, all with different properties. In the frantic panic, will you remember you were holding a derringer with one shot? I can't describe the amount of hollering coming from my living room after the tension-snapping slapstick of two ducks with shotguns meticulously coming up to the other before unleashing a barrage of empty-chamber clicks. They're both out of ammo and the calm, self-assured demeanor they came with dissolves into two panicked ducks jumping around looking for weapons. Quack. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Quack photo
Quack
Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack qua...

Mighty Gunvolt photo
Mighty Gunvolt

Inti Creates announces Gal Gunvolt for PS4, Vita


But it isn't coming west
Jul 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Inti Creates' Mighty Gunvolt is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita as Gal Gunvolt. The retro-style action platformer originally released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop last year alongside Azure Striker Gunvolt. It will n...
The Magic Circle photo
The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle launch trailer pokes fun at games industry egoism


'Trailers are just lies set to music'
Jul 09
// Alessandro Fillari
Back in January, I had the pleasure of checking out The Magic Circle, a charming and funny adventure title that poked fun at the chaotic, often insane challenges of game development. There's a launch trailer to set the mood ...

Review: Yoshi's Woolly World

Jul 08 // Laura Kate Dale
Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)Developer: Good-FeelPublisher: NintendoMSRP: $49.99Release Date: June 26 (EU) / October 16 (NA) Sitting at around 10 hours to complete, Yoshi's Woolly World is a delightful journey through a world full of pleasantly enjoyable surprises. Colours are bright, wool textures are detailed, and animations are always fluid. The game's world is polished where it needs to be, but isn't afraid to have the kind of natural rough edges present in a game about thread and sewing materials. From loose threads that unravel when pulled to fabrics that fold in asymmetrical ways, the game world just feels like an incredibly tangible physical space. Woolly World really shines when it takes advantage of the design aesthetic. From Shy Guys brandishing crochet hooks threateningly to fish spitting out water that, thanks to being made of wool, can be run along, the game excels when it fully commits to its core design concept. Mechanically, Woolly World is at its best and most challenging when it pushes Yoshi out of his comfort zone. Yoshi's abilities are all designed to keep him out of harm, from eggs that can dispatch enemies at a distance to a very forgiving and lengthy jump arc. The times when Yoshi's Woolly World forces you to take a leap of faith that pushes that jump to its limits, requires you to fight enemies in close quarters and experiments with the characters weaknesses are some of the best moments of Yoshi gameplay out there. It's just a shame those moments are few and far between. [embed]295585:59414:0[/embed] The vast majority of Yoshi's Woolly World doesn't push the titular hero's moveset in ways that really challenge the player. While levels frequently throw minor new gimmicks in that freshen up the feel of progression, they rarely have any real effect on the challenge of playing the game. It's not necessarily a problem; if you're looking for a calm and relaxed exploration of new mechanics in a colourful world then this certainly delivers that in spades. But yeah, be aware that the challenges are often spread out for the player. There are a bunch of collectibles to go after in the game, most of which are monotonous to collect and offer very little reward. The main exception to this is collectibles that allow you to re-skin your Yoshi, which are pretty enjoyable to seek out. The game's co-op mode does give you the benefit of being able to use your partner as a source of wool if you run low, but the levels in the game were very clearly designed to be played single player and more often than not, your secondary player will feel like they're hindering progression rather than helping with it. Yoshi's Woolly World is best described as easy, beautiful, and inventive. While the times it offers challenge are a little too spread out for my liking, the game looks and sounds stunning, and offers players a variety of new sights to experience along their journey. If you're looking for something to play to unwind, something pleasant and positive, this would be a pretty darn solid choice to go with. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer].
Yoshi's Woolly World photo
Pleasantly fluffy
Yoshi's Woolly World is the epitome of adorable. From Yoshi's cute, easily read facial expressions to the bright colourful world he inhabits, the intricate minor details to the tactile physicality of the world, this game took...

Batgirl photo
Batgirl

Joker sure makes a mess of things in Batgirl trailer


It's Joker's main event
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
When Arkham Knight's first substantial add-on releases, it'll see Batgirl doing a lot of the same activities Batman partakes in -- namely punching enemies into unconsciousness. They should try not to stay like that too ...
Helldivers photo
Helldivers

Helldivers is getting an expansion called Masters of the Galaxy


Sign me up
Jul 08
// Chris Carter
I've really enjoyed Helldivers, to the point where it's easily one of the biggest surprises this year. Thankfully, Sony has just announced that a new expansion is actually out now -- and it's free! It's called Masters of the...
Gauntlet photo
Gauntlet

The newest Gauntlet game is heading to PS4


$19.99
Jul 08
// Chris Carter
The newest Gauntlet game, titled simply "Gauntlet," is heading to the PS4 in the form of the Slayer Edition. It originally launched for just the PC platform, and many gamers out there took umbrage with the fact that it ...
Disney Infinity 3.0 photo
Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney Infinity 3.0 will arrive on August 30 with a ton of day-one items


Get your Star Wars outfits ready
Jul 08
// Chris Carter
Disney Infinity 3.0 will decidedly focus on Star Wars to promote the upcoming film, and now, we have a solid release date of August 30, 2015. The starter pack will come with Anakin Skywalker and Ashsoka Tano -- which is ...
Saint Seiya photo
Saint Seiya

Get a much better look at Saint Seiya: Soldier's Soul


More info revealed for Japan Expo
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
Saint Seiya is making a comeback with an all-new anime series and a fighting game, and I'm pretty excited for the future of the franchise. Although I didn't get a hands-on session with Soldier's Soul back when I at...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Want to play Assassin's Creed at SDCC? You have to write a short essay first


Compose to be chose
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
Are your writing skills as sharp as your hidden blade? They'll need to be if you want to play Assassin's Creed Syndicate at San Diego Comic-Con. It's a jam-packed show, and only the most qualified of assassins get a chan...
God of War PS4 photo
God of War PS4

Here's what God of War 3 looks like on PS4


Yep, it's God of War
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
I managed to get my hands on God of War III Remastered, which is still set to debut on PS4 on July 14. If you're curious, it's basically the same game, just with smoother and enhanced visuals. The original was already pretty...
Question photo
Question

Will you try to 100% Batman: Arkham Knight?


I'm tapping out
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
I'm done with Batman: Arkham Knight. I have to be. After wrapping up the main storyline, which ends strong and is worth experiencing first-hand, I went after those pesky side missions. The Perfect Crime (serial killer), Creat...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Video Review: Batman: Arkham Knight


Going arkHAM
Jul 06
// Mike Cosimano
Holy bat-milk, you guys! We're doing video reviews regularly now! This one is based on Steven's review of Batman: Arkham Knight. Since we're not so deep into this scheme that we can't self-adjust, I want to hear from you all:...
Bloodborne patch photo
Bloodborne patch

Bloodborne patch 1.05 brings more co-op improvements


Stat scaling for password matches
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
The next patch for Bloodborne (1.05) is suitably cryptic and intriguing. It's going to further tweak cooperative play as well as provide the usual undisclosed fixes and matchmaking improvements. If a player uses the Beckonin...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

The next Witcher patch makes inventory much, much better


No free DLC this week
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
When The Witcher 3's Patch 1.07 releases later this week on all platforms, players will find changes to inventory that make the process of hauling around tons of equipment far more manageable. That includes not only the liter...
Red Ash photo
Introducing sci-fi shooter Red Ash
Keiji Inafune and Comcept have wrapped development on Mighty No. 9 and are now returning to Kickstarter to fund their next project, Red Ash, a spiritual successor to Mega Man Legends. Announced today at Anime Expo in Los Ange...

Arkham Knight DLC photo
Arkham Knight DLC

The first Arkham Knight DLC takes place before Arkham Asylum


Featuring Batgirl
Jul 03
// Brett Makedonski
Batman: Arkham Knight may be the third and final title in Rocksteady's trilogy of Caped Crusader games, but its first add-on travels back to before the origins of the series. Okay, well, it's the first add-on save for th...

Review: Roving Rogue

Jul 03 // Chris Carter
Roving Rogue (Wii U)Developer: Padaone GamesPublisher: Padaone GamesMSRP: $9.99Released: July 2, 2015 The basic gist is pretty genius. Players will take control of Kurt the Righteous, who has just slain the final boss of the game. But what happens when said big bad dies? You can't just jump out of a window at the top of his massive fortress, right -- you have to walk back through where you came from. That's what you'll be doing throughout the course of Roving Rogue. Kurt only has one mechanic to master, so you won't get too flustered as you're busting your way out. Using a two-button system, one button jumps, and the other teleports. By quickly tapping the latter button you can warp a short distance, and holding it will stop your progress and allow you to aim a cursor in whatever direction you desire; it's a lot like Daud's blinking power in the Dishonored DLC. It's an easy concept to pick up, and it works very well. Players can opt to make a lot of jumps manually for safety, or go for a riskier teleport jump at nearly every turn. It makes every platforming portion a choice, but you can only teleport through specially marked "golden" walls to prevent you from breaking the game too hard. While the controls are on point, the levels on which you perform these antics are a mixed bag. Once you've played the first 10 stages or so you've basically seen it all, a feeling that's augmented by the fact that there are only six enemy types in total, all of which essentially operate in the same patrolling manner. There are some new ideas presented on occasion like darkness, and a switch between horizontal and vertical layouts, but it never really iterates beyond that. Four player co-op is definitely a big draw if you happen to have three other people on hand. [embed]295212:59321:0[/embed] Like the level design, the way the developers have chosen to approach the lore is also both brilliant and flawed. Although the premise is based on Kurt's tired old memory loss trope, you're basically rediscovering the fluff of the game's universe as you play it. Picking up collectibles will in turn decrypt diary entries explaining the initial journey throughout the castle, and why you're actually doing it. It even lends itself to multiple endings if you find enough. On the flipside, there's also a less stylish storytelling element -- Twitter feeds. I can't stand these, as they're basically a collective of memes and hashtags that are seemingly chosen at random, presented between levels. They're easy to skip, but feel wholly unnecessary. As for the visual style itself it's a bit plain when it comes to most of the game's animations and structures, but I actually dig the Loderunner feel to it, and as I stated previously, it does play well. Roving Rogue failed to really capture my interest throughout the entire adventure, but from a raw gameplay perspective I had some fun with the platforming bits. You'll enjoy it even more with friends. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Roving Rogue photo
Beam me up, ninja
When I heard of a game concept that starts you off at the last boss and takes you back through his castle as the story progresses, I was intrigued. Sadly, the mere premise of Roving Rogue is probably its strongest quality.

Monster Hunter 4 photo
Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter 4 is getting even more free DLC this month


Sounds good!
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
On July 3, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is getting its monthly dose of free DLC. Again, I know this is the norm for Monster Hunter, but to see Capcom follow through with this strategy is still jarring to me. This month you...
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan now available on 3DS in Europe


Australia and New Zealand, too!
Jul 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Shingeki no Kyojin: Humanity in Chains has finally arrived for the Nintendo 3DS in PAL territories. The action game allows players to suit up in Omni-directional Mobility Gear and take on Titans as either familiar faces from the manga and anime series or characters of your own creation. For €30, the (digital-only) title comes with an exclusive 3DS theme. You can find our review here.
Broforce Update photo
Broforce Update

Broforce Freedom Update adds pointy objects, flexing


That's a sharp helmet
Jul 02
// Nic Rowen
Just in time for Independence Day, the testosterone soaked, uber-patriotic Broforce is getting a synthoil injection of content by way of its “Freedom Update.” Featuring two new bros to mangle commies and protect ...
Slain! photo
Slain!

Slain's new trailer has more blood than a GWAR concert


That is to say, there's a lot of blood
Jul 02
// Brett Makedonski
I was originally going to pass on posting this trailer, but I came across it while I was listening to Lana del Rey's Ultraviolence and that just seemed like too great of a coincidence. Also, the developer's name (Wolf Brew) ...
Badman photo
Badman

Warner Bros. reportedly well aware PC Batman: Arkham Knight was hot garbage


Duh
Jul 02
// Steven Hansen
"I will say that it’s pretty rich for WB to act like they had no idea the game was in such a horrible state," an anonymous quality assurance tester on Arkham Knight told Kotaku. "It’s been like this for months and...

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